Kevin Carr, Tax-Fighting Democrat from Stanton.


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What sort of Democrat’s NUMBER ONE PRIORITY, year after year, is opposing, fighting, and defeating taxes in his town?

I’m really glad you asked, because there’s a real good answer:  It would be a Democrat from

  • the town with the lowest median income, and highest unemployment, of any town in the County (with the exception of the two “retirement communities” which obviously don’t count)
  • a town where the mostly-Republican City Council has raised or tried to raise taxes or initiate new ones EVERY TWO YEARS in recent decades, even though it’s by no stretch necessary (as I’ll explain below.)
  • a town where three out of five members of the out-of-touch council (actually FOUR out of five until a couple years ago, when ED ROYCE’S DAD finally retired mid-term) have been warming their seats for nearly two decades, apparently doing not much of anything but dreaming up new taxes for their poor working-class citizens and residents to pay.
  • In other words, Stanton!  And Kevin Carr.

And the answers to that question also provide a good answer to the question of “Why would the right-wing OC Register endorse a Democrat over a batch of established Republicans?”  Yes, fresh off their splendid endorsement of fresh progressive Democrat Bao Nguyen for Garden Grove mayor over the grotesquely corrupt and entrenched Democrat Bruce Broadwater, the Reg gave us this, which, short sweet & spot-on as it is, I’ll reprint in its entirety:

Two years ago, Stanton voters wisely rebuked their council’s ballot measure asking for a utility tax increase and expansion. The tax, Measure J, would have raised rates from 5 percent to 7.5 percent – or a 50 percent increase in the rate.

Now the incumbent council appears up for another round, placing Measure GG on the Nov. 4 ballot in an attempt to raise the city’s sales tax to make it the highest in Orange County. This comes at a time when Stanton’s unemployment rate is among the worst in the county, and the city is working hard to bring in new business and increase revenues.

Measure GG would impose a 1 percent additional sales tax on the majority of retail goods purchased in the city. While there are exceptions for some items – grocery and pharmaceuticals, for example – the funds are being allocated for general use, despite the measure being billed largely as a preservation of public safety services.

We believe this to be a seriously misguided attempt by the city to extract more money from taxpayers trying to live and work in a city on the rebound.

For that reason, the Register endorses City Council challengers Kevin Carr and Bryan Palomares.

Mr. Carr has an extensive history of opposing tax increases in the city dating back to the mid ’90s. He’s now opposed sales tax, utility tax and parcel tax burdens on the citizens.

He told us that his priorities involve increasing transparency in city government, fully funding public safety services, bringing in new businesses and rolling back additional tax burdens on Stanton’s roughly 38,000 residents.

Further, Mr. Carr raised issue with the salary levels of city staffers. He was joined in this by Mr. Palomares, who pointed out substantial income disparities between typical Stanton residents and city employees.

Mr. Palomares also pointed to the entrenched nature of the council, with certain members having nearly two decades under their belts. While history of government employment can be a virtue, it can also lead to a loss of connection with real people and their issues.

To continue rebounding from a persisting structural deficit, Stanton must attract new businesses – sources of revenue that do not depend upon burdening taxpayers. For this, the Register recommends that Mr. Carr and Mr. Palomares are chosen to fill two of the available seats this November.

Palomares?  Yes, and the young rock-ribbed conservative has a lot more in common with the social liberal Carr – for one thing Bryan is the only Stanton candidate endorsed by the OC GOP, just as Kevin is the only one endorsed by the Democrats.   On local issues these two challengers mostly see eye-to-eye, and while they’re not running as a slate (and can’t), their friendship such as it is was used against Bryan by the sleazy incumbents in an unsuccessful attempt to scuttle his OC GOP endorsement.

Before I forget – the Orange Juice Blog, like the Register, urges Stanton citizens to vote for Carr and Palomares, and we go farther, urging you to leave your third vote blank – none of the three incumbents wanting your vote are worth a daub of your ink.  And NO on GG – serious, the county’s highest sales tax for the county’s poorest population?

The tradition is, once a Stanton councilperson has been on the dais for so many decades that they can no longer be credibly propped up for a vote a la Strom Thurmond, they will make one last run – as Ed Royce Senior did four years ago – and then retire to spend more time with whatever’s left of their family, so they can choose their own trusted replacement-appointment, who can then run as an incumbent.  Hence you get the unfamiliar sight of a Rigoberto Ramirez running this go ’round, the unfamiliar sight of someone who’s only been on council two years, but could be thought of as Volume 2 of Ed Royce Senior.

I’ve known Kevin for years, and he’s run for Stanton council a few times.  I first met him when he joined my single-payer group nearly ten years ago, the Orange County chapter of Healthcare For All California.  He always just seemed like a fun, regular guy, like someone you would have known in high school, and his fundraisers were keggers.  But I have to admit I thought again about him when he got the Register endorsement.  So I went to visit him Saturday, and he’s really knowledgeable about his town, and funny too. 

Why are they always trying to raise taxes in Kevin’s town?  Do they really need that revenue for something?  Kevin admits he’s not sure to what we shoud ascribe the council’s boundless hunger, but he insists they don’t need it.  For one thing, the city owns THIRTY PROPERTIES around town that they’re not doing anything with, that could be sold or rented.  For another they now have seven years of reserves saved up, when a few years ago they only had four years’ worth.  They don’t need more revenue.

What do they SAY they need it for?  You won’t be surprised.  They say they need it for more police and fire services.  Sound familiar, to an Orange Juice reader?  Yes, that’s exactly how fake-conservative, non-GOP-endorsed Republican Anaheim mayoral candidate Lucille Kring is trying to sell HER utility tax, Measure N.  “Don’t you want more cops and firefighters?”  Once you realize all these crooks sing out of the same songbook, it becomes easier to see through them.

[UPDATE:  As I sat in Kevin’s living room Saturday, he claimed credit for “single-handedly defeating” a big tax increase two years ago.  I had to double-check with him by e-mail:  “You did that single-handedly?  Tell me how again?”  And he responded:

“In June 2012 I defeated the Stanton Utility Tax increase (Measure J) the same way anyone else would have. I say single-handedly because nobody helped, no organizations stepped forward and I didn’t receive any contributions or ask for any. Anyway, I put the argument against the increase (and rebuttal to the argument in favor) which appeared in the sample ballot. I also set up a website, was featured in newspaper articles and distributed political information explaining what the tax was about and urging folks to vote “NO” on the increase. If it weren’t for me we’d be paying 50% more on utility taxes on cellphones, land lines, water, electricity, gas and other utilities. Measure J would have also taxed our television programming, texting and VOIP service.”]

Oh, Kevin’s not against taxes in principle, it’s just that the vast majority of his fellow Stantonites, many of whom can’t vote due to citizenship but pay plenty of taxes, can’t afford “a nickel here, a dollar there” … on their utility bills, their cell phone calls, their cable, their gas, their restaurant meals, and on and on.  “If this were Newport Coast it would be another story.  And I know those people would squeal over something like this, but they could afford it.  MY neighbors cannot.”

Hey, I gotta run, I got a dozen more pieces to write before Election Day.  But if you live in Stanton, or know anybody who does… VOTE CARR AND PALOMARES, and NO on GG!  Thank you…


About Vern Nelson

Greatest pianist/composer in Orange County, and official troubador of both Anaheim and Huntington Beach (the two ends of the Santa Ana Aquifer.) Performs regularly both solo, and with his savage-jazz quintet The Vern Nelson Problem. Reach at vernpnelson@gmail.com, or 714-235-VERN.